Truckee runs over rival
The Truckee High football team secured home-field advantage for the first game of the playoffs by routing North Tahoe 37-7 in the final regular-season contest Saturday in Tahoe City. In doing so the rival schools will face off again this Saturday at Surprise Stadium in Truckee to kick off the Northern 3A postseason.
The rivalry, which in football should lessen substantially when the Lakers drop from the 3A next season, was still alive and well on Dollar Hill. If the crunching hits by both teams that reverberated through the forest throughout the afternoon weren’t proof enough, the fans’ bickering across the field should have been.
“Truckee cheats!” one man hollered several times from the North Tahoe sidelines, each taunt coming after a Wolverine penalty.
“Waaah!” the instigator got in response from a Truckee fan. “This ain’t powder puff!”
Snicker, snicker … no response.
After somewhat of a slow start by both offenses, Truckee wingback Ben Tonon received a shovel pass late in the first quarter and darted down the sidelines 58 yards for the game’s initial score. The extra point was good to give the Wolverines a 7-0 lead.
North Tahoe came right back with its own drive to the Truckee 17-yard line, where it stalled after a false start and a dose of the Wolverines’ swarming defense. The Lakers’ field-goal attempt missed.
Early in the second quarter Tonon ran the ball up the gut and into the end zone from the Lakers’ 18-yard line, weaving through heavy traffic on his way. But a holding call negated the touchdown.
On third-and-10 following the penalty, Truckee quarterback Robert Jones connected with halfback Mike Lopez for 11 yards and a first down. Senior fullback Drew Stewart then took a hand-off, bounced off a couple defenders and trotted standing into the goal for Truckee’s second score.
Following a nice kickoff return out to the 40-yard line by North Tahoe’s Baylen Parada, Truckee defensive end Riley Allanson thwarted the Lakers’ momentum with a sack on third-and-12.
Tonon ” who has proven himself as a threat to any defense this season both by way of running over and around tacklers ” returned the ensuing punt to the North Tahoe 38-yard line. The senior back received help from his special teams on the return, particularly from Paris Tenorio, who opened a lane by blowing up a Laker on a block.
The next play Jones hit a streaking Brandon Peterson in stride over the middle. The senior split end then ran with a tackler attached to his ankle into the end zone with 5:42 remaining in the half.
Trailing 21-0, the Lakers fumbled the ball on their own 15-yard line, and several Wolverines pounced on it. Near the goal line a few plays later Lopez took the hand-off and leapt Marcus Allen-style over the pile of linemen for a touchdown. The extra point missed to put the score at 27-0 with about three minutes on the clock.
Neither team scored before the half.
The Wolverines received the ball to start the third quarter. Several plays into the opening drive Tonon got the ball on a reverse. The play fooled the Lakers badly and Tonon hoofed it down the sidelines 56 yards for another touchdown. The extra point was good, extending Truckee’s lead to 34-0.
At that point Truckee head coach Bob Shaffer called off the dogs and, like in the last few games, fielded a team of mostly second-string players. Like in those other games, the second string played hard and performed well.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Lakers got on the board with a touchdown, which came on a reverse from the Truckee 27-yard line that opened up the entire left half of the field for an uncontested run. The extra point was good, narrowing the gap to 37-7.
Truckee picked up one more field goal with 2:44 remaining in the fourth quarter, and the game ended with the score 37-7.